Beauvais is a city and commune 67 km north of Paris, it's the capital of Oise department in Hauts-de-France region. In this city of less than 100,000 habitants, the most famous attraction in this city is its Gothic style Cathedral: San Peter Cathedral, and the second, is perhaps Hubert de Givenchy, one of the last couturiers of our time.
1927, a star was born.
On 20 Feburary, 1927, Hubert de Givenchy was born in a noble family. He was supposed to study law according to the family tradition, but destined to be one of the greast coutouriers in the world.
1944-1951: Michangelo in the making
1944. At 17 year old, Hubert de Givenchy moved to Paris to study art and became apprentice to Jacques Fath, one of the most important couturiers in Paris after World War II, and he also worked for Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong.
1945. He became first assistant to Elsa Schiaparelli, and worked for her for the next 4 years. Althoug Elsa's free, daring, and flamboyant style has strongly impressed and even influenced Givenchy, it was Cristóbal Balanciaga who became his real and only mentor, whose classic aesthetic sense and impacable draftsmanhip would also be Givenchy's own designing philosophy.
is 1952-1988, le Grand Givenchy
1952, Givenchy opened his own haute couture house and met Audrey Hepburn who became his lifelong friend, muse and embassador of his design. The Audrey the world has never stopped loving, is in someway Givenchy's Audrey, as she herselfe said about the designer:"Les modèles de Givenchy sont les seuls dans lesquels je me sens moi-même. Plus qu’un styliste, il est un créateur de personnalité." (The designs of Givenchy are the only ones in which I feel like myself. More than a stylist, he is a personality creator.)
1957, with the help and support of his brother Jean Claude, Marquis de Givenchy, Givenchy created Parfums Givenchy in his hometown Beauvais and his first perfume L'Interdit was dedicated to Audrey Hepburn. For a whole year she was the only one in the world to be able to carry this perfume.
For the next three decades, Givenchy not only became one of the most famous French couturiers, also the man who have made the most symbolic dresses in the modern fashion history.
At 1.98m tall, Givenchy was called "Le Grand Givench"(the Big Givench), but perhaps the Great Givenchy or the Grand Givenchy is more suitable.
1988-1995: Farewell to Givenchy Couture
1988: Hubert de Givenchy sold his haute couture house to LVMH owned by Bernard Arnold, but kept being the art director, but seven years later, in 1995, he bid farewell to Givenchy Haute Couture because he realized he was just a name in his own creation.
January 2015, Madrid, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Retrospective exhibition of Hubert de Givenchy.
On the day I was there, there were not many people, and other than a few young faces who look like fashion school students, most of the people there are mature, many of them with white hair, deep wrinkles and some with hunched backs.
Givenchy said to Spanish press: "La haute couture est arrivée à sa fin. Il y a des modes mais il n'y a pas la mode" (The haute couture has arrived at its end. There are fashions but there is no more style.)
2018, March 10, Saturday, long live Givenchy
"Monsieur de Givenchy s'est éteint dans son sommeil le samedi 10 mars 2018. Ses neveux et nièces et leurs enfants partagent sa douleur" (Mr. Givenchy died in his sleep on Saturday March 2018. His nephews, nieces and their children all share the pain." Thus announced Givenchy's companion, Philippe Venet, who also emphasized to the press that the funeral will be strictedly intimate.
In 2007, Hubert de Givenchy was awarded master of elegance by his home town Beauvais, but around the world, he was looked upon as king of elegance, by his clients, the press, his contempory collegues, and countless admirers. Bernard Arnault, the president of LVMH and owner of Givenchy Haute Couture, thus said about Givenchy: "...Tant dans les robes longues de prestige que dans les tenues de jour, Hubert de Givenchy a su réunir deux qualités rares : être novateur et intemporel..." (In the evening gowns as well as in daily outfit, Hubert de Givenchy has integreted two rare qualities: innovative and timeless).
Unlike his mentor Balanciaga, Givenchy was aware of his time and the changing needs of the women he dressed, and was willing to adapt to that needs, such as his design of "Seperatables", but at the same time, he has always respected and never comprised in style, so that even today, his designs can be worn by any woman or even a woman of next century, and look timeless.
In French history, everytime when a king dies, his court will cry out:
Le roí est mort, vive le roí! (The king is dead, long live the king.)
Givenchy is dead, long live Givenchy!